By Joe Koizumi
WBA light-flyweight champ Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12 KOs), 108, impressively kept his belt when he positively kept battering mandatory challenger Robert Barrera (18—2, 12 KOs), 108, Colombia, from the outset and finally halted him with the referee’s intervention at 0:24 of the ninth round on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Taguchi, making his sixth defense, had the upper hand over the switch-hitting challenger, who occasionally retaliated with light but fast combinations.
Taguchi, however, remained more aggressive, pinning Barrera to the ropes with persistent body attacks that apparently weakened the fading Colombian. Taguchi, in round seven, turned loose to hurt Barrera with furious combinations but the game challenger refused to go down by showing his heart. Having overwhelmed and overpowered Barrera with his accelerated attacks, Taguchi had him in great trouble in the eighth. The referee Russell Mora, US, gave a strong warning to Barrera for his repeated holding to avert the champ’s hot rallies in the closing seconds of the eighth session. As Taguchi went for a kill in round nine, the third man finally called a halt to stop the one-sided proceedings even without a knockdown.
(More to come)